The abrupt departure of two senior executives from a social media platform backed by former President Donald Trump raises questions about how things will move forward.
Technology chief Josh Adams and chief of product development Billy Boozer stepped out of Truth Social after a bumpy February start for its iPhone app, Reuters reported Monday.
CBS News technology reporter Dan Patterson said the company behind Truth Social, Trump Media & Technology Group, has struggled to attract technology professionals and build out its development team, hindering its launch.
“It’s a really competitive space to launch an app, and even President Trump doesn’t have the competitiveness to really scale up,” he told CBS News.
Truth Social has touted itself as an alternative to Facebook as well as a new online destination for Trump supporters and other political conservatives. It launched in late February and quickly became one of the most popular apps in Apple’s App Store.
But the site’s popularity waned in the following weeks, in part because there are already other social media apps targeting right-wing Americans, including Rumble, Parler and Gab, Patterson said.
Truth Social, which is not available on Android devices, was downloaded about 872,000 times in its first week, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. Stephanie Chan, a mobile insights strategist for Sensor Tower, told TheWrap that Truth Social now has about 1.2 million downloads.
Trump announced plans to create Truth Social after being permanently removed from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in 2021. He was banned from the service after they said his speech helped spark the January 6 attack on the US Capitol Building. In December, Trump said Truth Social “will be a platform that will not discriminate based on political ideology”.
A so-called special-purpose acquisition company called Digital World Acquisition planned to buy Truth Social and Trump Media & Technology Group, but the deal has been put on hold as US regulators investigate the company for possible securities rule violations.
Digital World raised concerns among investors last week after announcing that the auditor needed more time to review the company’s financials before submitting its annual report. Although companies often request an extension of the application, the delay is underlinedwhich was marred by outages, a long waiting list and difficulty accessing the app.
“Build and scale a [social media] platform is very different from building a website or an application,” said Patterson. “It takes resources, it costs money, it takes time and more than anything, it takes technical talent, which is scarce.”